Great Faithfulness

October 10th

Greetings! You may or may not have noticed that I didn’t write a post last week. It’s been sort of a rocky road lately. Since I last wrote, I have had 2 ultra-sounds, a chest CT scan, an MRI, numerous blood draws and several doctor visits! Sort of staggering, huh?

At my September 12th checkup, the doctor found that I was anemic, and in trying to determine the cause for it, she scheduled the scan and ultrasound. All was okay except for an abnormality on my pancreas, so on to the gastroenterology clinic for an evaluation. Their recommendation was an MRCP, a specialized MRI on just the duct system in my body. This was vague and rather inconclusive so next week I will have an Ultra-Sound Upper Endoscopy test. Trying to figure out just what the problem is.

Many of you have been walking this path with me, but I am asking for your prayers, if you are not already praying! Obviously there is cause for concern, but I am choosing to live in hope and God has indeed been for me lately, “a very present help in trouble”. Psalm 46:10. I have felt His presence, His peace, in ways that are impossible to describe, but are filling me with the joy of the LORD. Scriptures and hymns are floating across my mind!

As my son reminded me when we shared with him what was going on, “Mom, you wrote a book about how you learned to walk in faith through difficulties. Now is the time to show that what you wrote is really true for you!” That brought me up short! What an opportunity to bring glory to my God.

So, speaking of my book! It is still available if you are interested. Just private message me for further information.

In the meantime, even though we don’t really know enough yet to be worried, still there is that stinging little fear that says, “What If?” So I ask for your faithful prayers that the voice of fear will be silenced, and that you will sing with me:

“Great is Thy faithfulness,” O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.
  “Great is Thy faithfulness!” “Great is Thy faithfulness!”
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
“Great is Thy faithfulness,” Lord, unto me!
2 Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above,
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.
3 Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside.

 

Until next time, with hope for a fixable diagnosis…Love, Lois

 

 

 

CONNECTIONS

September 24th

Sending my loving greetings! It’s been another of those whirlwind weeks! Good in so many ways, yet as I get older I notice my stamina sagging! I know I’m not alone, as I hear that in conversations so very often.

I returned last night from a retreat where I was privileged to present a breakout session based on my new book. It was such joy, not only to be able to do that, but also to connect again with friends I had made last year, and to find some extraordinary new friends! I want to tell you about them!

Following dinner the first night, I was walking back to my room. My hip was hurting…I know that’s because I am not used to walking up and down hills, over gravel paths, etc…, but as I limped down the hill I heard a voice asking, “Ma’am, can we help you to your room?” Two lovely ladies were approaching me, so I stopped and asked them “Why? Was I limping?” “Yes, you were, and we thought we could help you!” I hadn’t thought it was noticeable, but I was wrong. I asked them, “How were you going to help me?” and they replied, “Well, we would have picked you up and carried you if we had needed to!”

We all laughed, and began a conversation. How can it be that we can find a connection almost immediately sometimes? I learned a lot about them in just a few minutes, and we prayed together and hugged in a beautiful moment. My prayer was “Oh God, thank you for my limp!”

They may not have literally carried me, but they carried me emotionally. Encouraging me, wanting to be with me, always saving a place beside them and including me in their activities. One of the two had never been to a women’s retreat, or conference, and it was pure joy to watch her open up and bloom in learning and worship. As we said goodbye yesterday morning, there were tears and I know I have made some lifelong friends. I thank God; and I’m still wrapped in the memory of the precious fellowship we experienced.

I always treasure the connections I am blessed to make at women’s events. This year was no exception. Meeting up with other friends who welcomed me back with open arms, attended my breakout session, bought my books and prayed with and for me. We enjoyed meals together and promised to get together during the year!

So as I’ve been pondering about the people in our lives, I’d like to share something from my book; the segment called “Connections”. “I am deeply touched to consider how wonderful it is to explore with joy and thanksgiving the connections God sends our way. 1 Corinthians 12 talks a lot about the body of Christ and how we are all individuals, but yet a part of something so much greater. ‘For as the body is one and has many members but all ten members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.’ 1 Corinthians 12:12. I also rejoice to read Verse 18, ‘But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased.‘ These connections, these relationships, are not by accident and I am very grateful for what He has pleased to do for us.”

Last week I talked about how important it is for us to notice those around us, to offer assistance, to watch. Today I want to say to Carol and Donna, “Thank you for noticing me! You have blessed me with your loving attention.”

And to all of you who read my words, I thank you, because you do mean so much to me. May we keep on keeping on, in gratitude.

Love, Lois

“Are You A Noticer?”

September 16th

Greetings! Fall has arrived in earnest. But how beautiful the colors and how fun to get a sweatshirt from the closet and head out into a lovely cool autumn!

Are you a “Noticer?” I have often told my husband that if I wrote a book about him it would be called “The Noticer”. He seems to notice everything! Anything that is out of order, like telephone wires in an old Western movie, for instance. He will ask me, “What is wrong with this picture?” To which I answer, “I didn’t notice!” This question has been brought close to my thoughts over the past few days.

On our anniversary, September 10, we went out for breakfast. As we sat is the booth, 3 times people whom we knew walked by and did not notice us! Perhaps that seems a bit silly, but we are always looking around for someone we know to make a connection, hopefully. Of course we don’t go as far as to wave our arms and jump up and down! We looked at each other and chuckled that everyone is not like us and does not pay attention to their surroundings.

Then a gentleman we didn’t know stopped at our table and asked, “Guess who I got to see today?” Intrigued, we said, “Who?” thinking it was some celebrity. He answered, “You!” He then proceeded to have a conversation with us, congratulating us and sharing some of his life. We totally enjoyed the encounter! What an interesting way to open up dialogue.

This experience was close to my thoughts when I got home I opened my devotional for the day, the title being “Look Up”! Amazed at the way God gets my attention, my eyes watered to consider the truth of the Scripture in Luke 21:28: “Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”

            We have been studying prophecy and end times in our church’s small group, so this explains, perhaps, why I was so taken with this passage, following on the heels of our discussion on noticing things! I believe that “these things” mentioned in this passage have begun to happen, and it behooves us to lift our heads and notice!

There is great hope here. Our Redemption is coming, and our destiny is set, if we believe in Jesus’ and His sacrifice for us. Let us look around and see to what and where God is pointing.

Are you a noticer? I hope to become a better one! That’s all for this week. See you next week.

Love, Lois

Greetings After a Long Absence!

August 10th

Greetings after a long absence! I’m not sure if you have missed me, but I have definitely missed communicating with you. But we are now home and struggling to get back to the normal routine…if such a thing exists! You know what I mean. What is normal, anyway? The best definition I can come up with is living life out of familiar surroundings; e.g., our own bed, our own “stuff”, our usual tasks and events.

That being said, it seems to me that there is a mountain facing me, trying to reach that sense of “Aah, I’m really home.” There was such a rush getting ready to go on our trip that I came back to a lot of things that I had left undone. For instance, cleaning house! The morning we left I just kept singing to myself, “Let it go! Let it go!” The excitement of a new book and the details surrounding it distracted me, it seemed, from doing the things I normally do…at least the vacuuming! So coming home after a month, with a 12-inch stack of mail, laundry, the ubiquitous housework, etc., waiting, I have felt very overwhelmed. I know you all know that feeling! Don’t you?

But I want to tell you that God understands overwhelming! One of my favorite passages in Scripture is from Psalm 143:4-6, “Therefore my spirit is overwhelmed within me; My heart within me is distressed. I remember the days of old; I meditate on all Your works; I muse on the work of Your hands. I spread out my hands to You; My soul longs for You like a thirsty land. Selah. The word “Selah” means to pause and reflect at this point. How many times have I turned to these verses and realized that a lot of my frustration and overwhelmed-ness comes from the fact that my soul is simply longing for more of God; that to look back and see how He has been there for me over and over in the past, strengthening me, is the panacea for the staggering sense of duty and responsibilities calling me.

So I did pause and spend some time with Him the other day and He gave me such a feeling of His presence, and a word from His Word! My overwhelmed heart was overwhelmed in a different direction—that of joy and praise. I want to share that word with you. It is direct instruction for all of us who get caught up in the struggle of too much to do; who are exhausted and worn out. Hebrews 12:12-13 , (NLT): “So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. 13 Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong.” Today I marked out a straight path! Try it. Do what you can do, and let yourself relax and rest. Good advice! Of course, it is Scripture, after all!

Well, I guess I’m back in the saddle, so to speak! Asking for prayer, if you think of us, for Fred’s eye surgery on Tuesday, August 14th. And for God’s continuing to bless our book “Signposts” as He has been doing in great measure. I thank you for your support, and pray you find joyfully His direction for your journey as you go step by step, following Him.

Love you all. Till next time! Lois

July 16th

Well, I was in Montana for a few days! Now we have arrived in Casper, Wyoming for a couple of weeks. Fred’s sister is getting married on Saturday and we will be celebrating Fred’s 60th high school class reunion the following Saturday, before we turn for home. And back again to Montana.

There is so much going on in my heart and mind…I’m excited at how well “Signposts” is being received. I’ve nearly sold out of my second shipment, thank You God!! I am filled to the brim with sweet moments of family time and memories that erupt around every bend in the road! If I were to coalesce my thoughts in any way I would want to talk about water. Maybe next week I can talk about mountains! But as we drove the hundreds of miles to get here I was mesmerized, as usual, by the many rivers, ponds, lakes and streams we passed. I love the sound of a rushing river; the sight of sunlight on the frothy sprays that occur when the water meets an obstruction like a rock or log. Placid, slow-moving sometimes; rushing headlong at others. How alive they make me feel! But the next curve may bring us to a separate pond. A pond that sits away from the river, scummy with slimy growth, and looking dead and still. I mused at the contrast. With no apparent inlet or outlet, the pond has very little, if any, life. The rivers and streams however, pulse with energy, constant movement…life.

My spiritual life often contains the same contrast. And I think it’s true of all of us. When we are drenched with the water of the Word, it enters us, flows through us and out in love and service. But just as water can become stagnant with no fresh water, so can we. Water’s freshness or staleness depends on the circumstances surrounding it. I want to be a conduit of fresh water to those whom God places in my path. It is so vital, then, that I allow the Word of God, the Living Water Jesus says He is, to be my Source. John 4 and 7?

I can hardly take my eyes off the beautiful rivers of Montana, pushing through canyons, racing along the farmlands, watering the earth. After many years of traveling the same roads, I know where to look! And prepare myself for a jolt of excitement, as I always say to Fred, “Look at the river, how it glistens in the sun!” My prayer is that I never look inside myself and see a stagnant pool, covered with algae!

Thanks, as always , for accompanying me on this journey we call life. Let’s splash in the river of Joy in Jesus this week!

Sending my love, Lois

What Is Success?

June 19th

A beautiful summer day! It lifts one’s spirits just to look outside at blue skies, and smell the freshness of the cool breeze. Yep. I love summer mornings!

It has occurred to me that I failed to post my thoughts last week! It was a week filled with rehearsals, speaking, performances, doctor appointments, and it zoomed by before I practically had a chance to catch my breath. That is not a complaint; in actuality I am gratified to have these events in my life, rejoicing in good health and anticipation.

I finally received the first shipment of “SIGNPOSTS”! And as some of you know, we are planning a book-signing on Sunday, the 24th. Which means that there is much to be done to get ready. And as I think about the days ahead, I want to share with you my heart with regard to this book project. There is obviously a lot of emotion attached to the marketing of a book. Some trepidation, concern about its reception in the marketplace, and of course, the ego! I’d like to quote author Holley Gerth from a post she shared that has bolstered me, encouraged me and brought peace as I’ve completed my part.

Hear from Holley: “How can I make sure this goes well? As I ponder, slowly I begin to see the true meaning: Success isn’t about outcome; it’s about obedience.” ( I actually have this quote on my refrigerator!) She goes on: “Who I’m turning this over to matters more than how it all turns out. God’s got this. He’s got me too, And whatever happens next, in His eyes it will be a success.”   I have to trust this truth. Because I feel I have been obedient in putting this book together.

So yesterday, waiting for the book delivery, I wrote in my journal: “Father, as this book goes out, may I be confident in You to work through it. And the verses from Isaiah 55:10-11 surfaced in my heart. ‘For as the rain comes down and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth and make it bring forth and bud that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall MY word be that goes forth from MY mouth; it shall not return to me void, but it shall accomplish what I please and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.’ This is Your promise, God. I am simply reminding You of it. ‘Signposts’ contains Your word from Your mouth, flowing through the ink of my pen. Please, please, may it accomplish that which You please, and not return to You void! Oh, that is my prayer.”

I am asking you, my friends, to pray that prayer with me in the days ahead. And I will be forever grateful.

As a commercial, the book is still available at the pre-order price of $12.00. Just let me know in a comment. Amazon has it in both bound copy, and a Kindle edition. I trust that as you pray, you will be blessed to be a part of this whole thing…as you already have been!

Love, Lois

For Mothers

Hello my friends! It’s been a crazy week so far, but it’s smoothing out and I want to settle for a moment and share with you some thoughts.

It’s getting close to Mother’s Day and as always, our thoughts turn to those who carried us and who gave birth to us, as God’s perfect plan for our lives began. Most of you know that my own mother went to heaven when I was little girl, so there is a poignancy to my ponderings this week. I so often wonder what my life would have been if I had had the privilege of growing up with her loving wisdom and grace surrounding me. What would she think of the woman I am now? How would I be different had I not experienced the grief of her passing? And the bitterness and resentment that filled me for so many years?

When my first book came out I sent a copy to my aunt, my dad’s sister. She knew my mother well, and she called me after receiving the book and said, “Oh, Lois. Your mother would be so proud of you!” Something broke inside me at those words, and I cried and cried as a healing peace settled over my heart. I had not realized how much I craved words of approval that my mother might have uttered. It was a huge step toward a renewed sense of my worth.

So, as I sit here at my computer thinking of you and all of the issues that surround our mothers and our own mothering, I want to say that my heart goes out to all of us…because all of us are affected one way or another by how we are mothered. Some are blessed by having had, or still have, a nurturing relationship with your mother. Some are wounded by rejection or painful relationships. Some are longing to become a mother and finding disappointment. I believe, as well, that some of you are facing that final earthly separation, as age and illness take their toll. Whatever is the case in your life right now, I encourage you to know at the depth of yourself that God is sovereign over our lives. He longs to heal the painful things, and receive praise for the good things.

I am a mother, a grandmother and a great-grandmother. My own blessing came from having a mother-in-law who loved me as sweetly and intensely as if she had borne me. She often told me so. I have no idea of what I would have done as a mother without her! My prayer is that I will be the kind of mother-in-law to my sons’ wives that she was to me. To love them unconditionally and be supportive as they walk alongside of our sons. To celebrate their own mothering and keep my mouth shut!!  (Unless they ask, of course!) Seriously, the best way we can give God thanks is to be all He has made us to be, and nurture that goal in those who come after.

I pray for myself that those who are coming behind me will see and know my faith and my heart. That my grandchildren and great-grands will observe a life that honors God. Billy Graham once said: “The greatest legacy one can pass on to one’s children and grandchildren is not money or the material things accumulated in one’s life, but rather a legacy of character and faith.”

For you, however you will be observing Mother’s Day on Sunday, my prayer is that you will pause for a moment and let your Heavenly Father speak His love into your soul. And that you will resolve to say with the Psalmist, “We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done.” Psalm 78:4.That’s all for today!

Love,

Lois

Focus

Hello!

It’s been a few busy days, trying to get the final work done on my book.  We have chosen the cover and finished the bibliography, so the end is in sight. It is always exciting at this point in publication, but also some anxiousness stalks the corners of my mind! So many details with timing being pretty important.

Anyway, with all that said, I really want to examine some of what I wrote about last week…our focus on God in worship and praise. I find myself with my mind wandering as I sit before Him. Not too long ago I wrote a meditation following a message from my pastor that challenged me to look at my priorities. I share that with you now.

FOCUS

“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.
And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.”
  1 John 3:16

Love dictates our focus.
Like an etching on glass,
what we really love
grows in magnitude under
the microscope through which
we peer at life.

Is it Jesus?
Is our desire to love like He does?
Or do we only see the selfish needs
that demand our attention.

I am challenged to examine the specimen
that defines my motivations, fuels my behavior.
Perhaps there is a fresh need clamoring for perusal.
A need to serve, not myself, but others;
serving from love, like Jesus does,
seeing lacks, hurts and pain,
and reaching out with the right motivation…

Love.

Because He first loved me.
Oh, how that would change
the slide under my life’s microscope;
not one etched with my needs,
but the things that break the heart of Jesus.

©   Lois Williams

I’m focused on so many things right now, but what I really want is to find my way to an undivided heart, a heart totally focused on Him. This reminds me of a story I heard not too long ago. A busy father was working in his office, while his little son played nearby, happy just to be with his dad. Wanting to get a bit of attention, he said, “Dad,” to which his father replied, “Yes, Son, I’m here” without taking his attention from what he was doing. Again the little boy said, “Dad!” Twice more this happened, with no change in the father’s absorption in his work. Finally frustrated, the little boy said very loudly, “Dad, I want you to listen to me with your face!”

I thought about this and about our relationship with God. We want Him to listen to us with His face, His total attention.  Is it not to be assumed that He, too, wants us to listen to Him with OUR face? To be absorbed in what He is showing us, telling us. Hearing Him and letting all else fade into the background for a time. As the poem above says, “love dictates our focus”; thus the real question is, “Do I love Him?” One more quote! This from a hymn, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.” Amen. That beautiful, wonderful face that sees us with unfathomable love, longs for our willing focus.

I am challenged.

Til next time,

Love,

Lois